Hello everyone. It’s this time of year again – new expansion is coming out pretty soon and it’s time to evaluate some cards. When it comes to Gadgetzan, it might be even harder than it usually is. A lot of the cards are quite synergistic and we can’t really tell how well will they work until we learn about the whole set. With almost half of the cards revealed, though, the general picture is starting to shape up, so I’ve decided to follow-up my initial card reviews. I’ve already briefly reviewed the ones showcased on the initial Blizzcon stream, so I won’t go back to them.
I’ll try to give you a bit of insight – a quick description of the card, potential synergies, whether it’s good or bad and why. I’ll also rate every card from 1 to 5. Here’s the quick summary of the ratings:
- 1 – The card won’t likely see any play
- 2 – Overall pretty bad, but it might be okay against a very specific meta or work in some non-competitive decks.
- 3 – Average card. It might be a tech card or it might be played in some tier 3-4 decks.
- 4 – Good card, should see some play in one of the higher tier decks or be a very common tech card.
- 5 – Potentially meta-defining card, very powerful, will surely see some play in top tier decks or even carry a lower tier deck.
P.S. Most of my reviews are about Constructed (Standard). If I’ll be talking about Arena or Wild, I’ll say that.
Power of this card greatly depends on the power of the potions. 4 mana 3/3 with a Battlecry “draw a card” is pretty solid. And it’s basically a card draw if the potions are good. I think we know most of the potions by now. They’re: Potion of Madness, Dragonfire Potion, Pint-Size Potion, Volcanic Potion, Potion of Polymorph (is that a Potion too?), Bloodfury Potion and Felfire Potion. I’d say that potions are generally strong cards. They all fit a Control deck more, but you’d play this card in Control deck anyway.
I’d say that the weakest potion is Bloodfury Potion – even Control Warlock doesn’t really run Demons, not to mention Mage or Priest. So it’s basically a 3 mana for +3 attack. Another card that I don’t like is Potion of Polymorph – that’s because it won’t be a Secret at all. I mean, even in Mage, if you follow which card is which in the opponent’s hand, you will know when this one is played. It will sometimes still be good, especially in the late game, when your opponent simply doesn’t have a small minion to play into it. Also, Pint-Size Potion might be weak outside of the Priest. It’s still not useless – it might boost your trades sometimes (since it’s “generated” and costs only 1 mana, even saving one of your minions is okay), but it doesn’t get the synergies in Mage or Warlock.
Since a lot of the potions are removals/AoEs, they should be useful in relatively fast matchups. Then, since it’s an extra card generated from outside of your deck, it will also be good in Control matchups where fatigue is a thing.
I like this card, I think it will at least be played in the Reno Warlock/Mage/Priest, maybe in other Control version of those classes too.
Card rating: 4/5
This is both value and tempo card, so a perfect kind of a card. It’s a Hellfire on a 6/6 body, and since Hellfire costs 4, it means that you play 3 mana 6/6 on top of that. Which is amazing value.
The only bad thing about this card is that it comes so late. Hellfire is often necessary on turn 4. On turn 7 it might not be that effective in some matchups. This might also sometimes be unplayable without Reno/healing in your hand already, because dealing 3 extra damage to yourself against Hunter or Tempo Mage when you’re already low is not a great idea (sure, if you clear more than 3 damage it’s still worth it, but it’s hard to play it for the body). Don’t get me wrong, this card is still great. I will definitely play it in my RenoLock. In many matchups, Hellfire is useful throughout the whole game. It’s AMAZING card if Shaman’s here to stay and right now it looks this way (you never have enough board clears against Shaman) or if Zoo will get more popular (we don’t know too many Warlock cards yet, so it’s hard to tell how Zoo will work). Or pretty much any deck that relies on board presence.
It’s also a slight buff to the Demon pool of the Bane of Doom. Maybe if we get another big Demon this time around, the card will become playable (and I mean it, it already has more good than bad outcomes).
Card rating: 4/5
I was already pretty exciting about this card, even before we’ve seen another one – Kabal Crystal-Runner (later about that). Mage Secret are the most expensive ones, so they’re best to get for free. It’s basically a 3 mana of free tempo on a 1 mana card. It’s like a getting Secret-only Preparation ON TOP of a 2/1 for 1. The card is very strong, but there is one catch. It forces you to play Secrets and those can be played around. It’s not Mad Scientist, which pulls Secrets from your deck – you have to play them from your hand. The Secrets that would most likely see play in such a deck are Mirror Entity and Counterspell. And Mirror Entity is the one I’m most excited about in combination with this card.
Turn 1 this + Mirror Entity is really INSANE tempo play. Even if you get a vanilla 3/2 or 2/3, it means that you’ve played 0 mana 3/2 which every aggressive deck would like to play. But Counterspell can also be good (as long as your opponent goes first and can’t counter it with coin) – e.g. preventing Druid from using a turn 2 Wild Growth can really make the difference.
But, one thing I’ve heard. We already had a similar card – Kirin Tor Mage – which wasn’t played, so why would this see play? For a simple reason – if you have two cards with the same effect and different mana costs, assuming that stats for the mana are similar, the cheaper one will be stronger. Not to mention the Kabal Crystal-Runner really incentivizes Mages to play Secrets.
Card rating: 4/5
In a Reno Mage, there is basically no reason to not play this. While it obviously doesn’t fit into ANYTHING else, the card is very strong and will be a Reno Mage’s staple.
If you play this and cast any spell that costs 3 or more mana, you’re getting the tempo. 5/5 stats are worth about 4.5 mana and this is 7 mana. It starts getting really strong with 5+ mana cards, especially the slow cards like Cabalist Tome. It was really hard to play this card, because it was a tempo loss. But now you can easily play it while also developing a 5/5 body on the board. And it’s obviously insane with Flamestrike or Firelands Portal – if you wanted to cast one of those anyway, you basically get a 0 mana 5/5 on top of them. Oh, and remember that Pyroblast you sometimes get from Babbling Book or Tome, but you never have an opportunity to use it? Inkmaster Solia.
While in Control vs Control matchups tempo swings aren’t that important, this card will especially shine against faster decks – decks that every extra minion on the board, let alone a 5/5, is helpful.
Card rating: 5/5
Potion of Polymorph
Let me get this straight – this card is pretty weird and it will NOT be played by itself, in a non-Secret deck. Why? Because it’s not a good turn 3 play – even if you hit opponent’s 3-drop with it, it’s still a net gain for your opponent when it comes to the tempo. You’ve both played 3 mana and he gets a 1/1. Sure, it might slow an Aggro deck down, but it’s still not that great. And in the late game? It’s just an unreliable Polymorph. Poly costs just ONE more mana and it’s targettable. You don’t have to hope that your opponent actually plays his Sylvanas Windrunner into this Secret instead of something small. You just Poly her after he plays it. If you want to counter the late game cards, big Deathrattles – you play Poly, not this unreliable card.
I’ve heard somewhere that it might be a counter to strong Battlecry cards like N’Zoth. But that’s not true, because – unless they will also change it – Battlecries proc before the Secret is popped. That’s why Twilight Guardian into Repentance results in 1/1 or when Injured Blademaster gets played into Mirror Entity, the copy is also damaged.
No. The only use of this card is to get tempo with the new Kabal Lackey or maybe even the Kirin Tor Mage. It’s almost always a net tempo gain if you can cast it for free. And it MIGHT see some play in such a deck, but outside of it, I don’t see a reason to play it. It’s really, really overrated.
Card rating: 2/5
Warlock was the first and arguably the only class that had a viable Aggro Murloc deck. But it was a long, long time ago. And in such a deck, this card would be really good. 4/2 stats for 4 mana are bad, but remember that you can immediately follow it by another Murloc. Costs health instead of mana is not a problem in such a deck. It’s THE most aggressive deck – even in Aggro matchups it’s the opponent who has to play the defensive game. So health is not a concern. And getting a 3-drop for “free” right after this is really strong. It works best with Murloc Warleader, Coldlight Seer and Coldlight Oracle, but hey, the 2-drops are also okay. Main issue? Old Murk-Eye is no longer in Standard. Other issue? This card is only good on turn 4, maybe 5, when you still have other Murlocs in your hand and limited mana. If you get past that point, you most likely have empty hand, you tap and play whatever you draw (2 minions per turn). Murlocs are generally cheap so it’s pretty rare that you can’t play both minions you tap into after turn 6. On turn 8 and onwards, impossible – you always will be able to play both. So at this point the effect becomes useless. But the 4/2 stats are still quite high for a Murloc, it will still be a better topdeck than the 1-drop Murlocs.
This would probably be a staple in Murloc Warlock. But I honestly don’t think the Murloc Warlock will be viable. Sure, one Murloc Warlock deck got 12 wins in the Brawl, but so did a Control Priest. One time surprises is something else than a meta deck. If this deck would dominate the meta, there are just too many ways to counter it – something you can’t do in Brawl when you’ve already locked your deck and you don’t expect to see it. So I don’t think that we’ll see any Murloc Warlocks out there.
Card rating: Staple in Murloc Warlock, but probably 1/5 because no one will play it
The card has received very mixed, but mostly bad reviews. 5 mana 2/2 that deals 5 damage is very strong. But dealing 5 damage to your Hero is often too big of a downside. To really reviews this card, I’d like to split it into two parts. First one – the body. Vanilla 2/2 would be worth around 1 mana. Then the effect is worth 4 mana. Would you play a 4 mana “deal 5 damage to a minion, deal 5 damage to your Hero”? No, you wouldn’t. You definitely wouldn’t.
Sure, there are some ways to made this effect better. First of all – it might not proc immediately. 2/2 isn’t hard to kill, but it might happen that your opponent has no way to do so. You CAN Silence it, but who runs Silence anyway? And you’d often rather Silence something else than your own minion. There is a dream of killing Sylvanas Windrunner with it and giving the body to your opponent instead. But is it really the dream? Sure, it’s good if the 5 extra damage will be useful. But if not, you still give your opponent a 2/2.
Even in the classes that are low on removal, e.g. Druid, I can’t really see playing it. The matchups were such tempo removals are best in are fast matchups, and in those matchups you often can’t afford to take 5 damage for free.
Card rating: 2/5
Filler card. Even the nerfed 1/1 version of Leper Gnome is better – you pay 2 mana to get +2 attack on a minion. No way it’s good. If you want an aggressive minion in 3 mana slot, play Argent Horserider (you get the 2 damage immediately anyway + the 2/1 with Divine Shield is better body) or Wolfrider (you get 3 damage immediately + it’s the same body).
Card rating: 1/5
It might be the worst potion so far. +3/+3 for 3 mana would be decent, but if it wouldn’t be on Demons only. It could be solid in Zoo if you could play it on something like Argent Squire. It’s good on Demons, but the thing is that even Zoo plays mostly non-Demon minions (e.g. Discard Zoo plays 28 minions and 10 of them are Demons) so it might be too situational.
Demonfire is sometimes played in Zoo and the cards are comparable. But not only Demonfire curves better (6 out of 10 Demons are 1-drops), but the alternative effect is better. 2 mana for 2 damage on the opponent’s minion still sucks, but it’s way better than 3 mana for +3 attack on a friendly minion.
Overall a pretty bad card. I could see it played only in a dedicated Demon list which runs almost only Demons, then the +3/+3 for 3 might be quite good. But unless we’ll get a really good reason to play such a deck, I don’t think it will be created. The only redeeming quality of this card is that the strong Demons mostly have higher health than attack, so buffs work better on them. E.g. Voidwalker becomes a 4/6 Taunt and Imp Gang Boss becomes 5/7.
Card rating: 2/5
That’s all folks. Thanks for staying with me, I’ll get out more card reviews soon. You should see another one in a few days, so stay tuned!
Overall, I’m really excited for the expansion. I don’t remember being so hyped about Hearthstone in a long while. I really can’t wait to get my hands on those cards and start testing them. I hope that the reality will meet expectations and I (just like many other players) won’t be completely disappointed.
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Good luck on the ladder and until next time!